I do enjoy the reader comments on the CBC News site.
As with many (most?) similar sites, the comment threads are populated chiefly by people who harbour opinions on the more extreme ends of whatever spectrum is at issue. There are also a lot of single-issue folks on the BC site, who will blame ANY problem on the provincial government / its leader, Gordon Campbell / the Olympics / the Vancouver Police and their trigger-happy Taser fingers.
The best part is the ability of commenters and lurkers to “Agree” or “Disagree” with each comment. If you’ve ever got a few minutes to spare, try leaving a comment, and see how long it takes for someone to disgree with:
a) a quantitative question (i.e. not one with a yes/no answer, but rather “how many?” or “which year?”)
b) a factual, objectively correct statement backed up with references
c) a completely innocuous or obvious comment (“my sympathies to the family”, “murder is bad”, etc).
Extra points if someone replies to your comment and mentions the government / Campbell / the Olympics / Tasers.
The only time I ever wade in (other than hitting “Agree” or “Disagree”) is when the news concerns a scientific issue, and commenters are asking specific questions or spreading inaccuracies. For example, I remember leaving a comment on one of the (still unsolved) mystery-of-the-floating-feet articles, explaining why DNA analysis can’t tell you someone’s race.
The comments on today’s sciency articles gave me a couple of big belly laughs. But I don’t think I’ll be responding.
How to even begin to craft a response to this comment on an article about the H1N1 flu?
Of course it's hit B.C. schools. It's a man made virus, released into the public, to be controlled by a man made vaccine, whenever they have it ready. How else can they make their pandemic real? This so called pandemic has been hyped up in the news ad naseum, but with a purpose. To incite fear and population control. Do I believe it's going to be bad? Absolutely. Just as planned. Do I believe a lot of people will die from the vaccine. Absolutely. Maybe even more than from the flu.
And how to possibly, ever, better this comment on an article about the (alleged) end of the devastating pine beetle infestation?
The last time there was this much speculation about whether or not a beetle was dead it was Paul. Koo Koo katchoo
1 If true, it’s only because they’ve run out of trees to kill.